By Oliver Hall
Hankook tyres are bringing forward a £200m expansion plan at its Hungary plant in a bid to double production to meet rising demand.
The South Korean tyres manufacturers are aiming to double capacity at the plant in Dunaujvaros from an annual figure of 5 to 10 million tyres by 2011.
The expansion will start this month and is in response to an increasing demand for Hankook tyres in Europe.
Hankook’s decision to build a manufacturing facility in Hungary has been key to reducing customer delivery times from one month previously to just five days for the Europe-made Hankook tyres.
However, the move also positions Hankook for increasing amounts of OE business, with the company openly bidding for the attention of “Audi-level” customers, according to Tyres and Accessories magazine.
Last year the company’s Hungary site began supplying OE customers in Europe, first Hyundai’s Czech factory (with tyres destined for the i30-compact car) then to Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge in Germany for the popular VW T5.
It is a major step forward for Hankook, because last autumn they had postponed the expansion by a year until the first half of 2010 because of the global financial and economic crisis.